Walsh Announces Launch of City of Boston Rental Voucher Program

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced this week the formal launch of the City of Boston Voucher Program (CBVP). The CBVP is a rental voucher program similar to Section 8, funded by the City of Boston’s operating budget and administered by the Boston Housing Authority (BHA). The voucher program will provide hundreds of low income Boston households with rental assistance.

Mayor Walsh announced the City of Boston Voucher Program in his 2020 State of the City address and included $2.5 million in the fiscal year 2021 budget to create the program. The program is expected to house hundreds of Boston families over the coming years.

“Boston is a home for all, and these vouchers will allow more of our low-income families to have stable, secure housing, a cornerstone of residents’ wellbeing,” said Mayor Walsh. “We are using every tool available to us to ensure families in our communities can continue to call Boston home.”

Responding to community input, the City of Boston Voucher Program will focus on Project Based Vouchers-tied to a particular site or development-and will further fair housing through equitable neighborhood planning. The City of Boston Voucher Program will efficiently leverage city resources by deepening the affordability of both existing and in-development income-restricted housing, making such housing available to very- and extremely- low-income residents, homeless Boston Public Schools families, households facing displacement and other vulnerable populations.

Since June, the Boston Housing Authority has convened a stakeholder group of low-income renters, nonprofits and service providers to inform program design and priorities, while the Department of Neighborhood Development has consulted with property owners and developers to ensure the success of the program.

“This historic City investment will be a new and critical housing resource for hundreds of Boston’s most vulnerable residents,” said BHA Administrator Kate Bennett. “I want to thank Mayor Walsh for his leadership in driving this initiative forward, and creating a lifeline of affordable, stable housing for families who need it the most.”

The Boston Housing Authority will formally launch the program by issuing a Request for Proposals from housing operators and developers interested in incorporating Project Based Vouchers into their developments. Similar to Section 8, vouchers are funded by annual appropriation while the commitment to stable affordable housing is secured through long-term contracts between the Boston Housing Authority and the property owner. 

To efficiently deploy resources to serve vulnerable residents, the BHA will use three existing referral partnerships while incorporating a new partnership with the city’s Office of Housing Stability. These partnerships will serve households in shelter, homeless and doubled-up families (multiple families sharing one primary residence) with children in Boston Public Schools, and families facing displacement. The City funding stream will build on the success of these programs while expanding eligibility to a greater pool of Boston residents.

The City of Boston and Boston Housing Authority have partnered for years to deploy Project Based Vouchers into Boston neighborhoods. With this new municipal resource, Boston is introducing a flexible and powerful program to serve populations whose needs are currently unmet by other housing programs.

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